Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Books of 2013 part one

Book rating system:

1/5 Blunt pencil

2/5 Scratchy promo biro

3/5 Parker Pen

4/5 Comfortable roller ball

5/5 Quill and ink

Super Special this book will change your life 6/5 Four colour bic

On with some books!

The Black Dahlia

James Ellroy

This book took me ages to get into as most of the first third is about boxing and lots of character names are very similar making it confusing. However, it had a very strong and well created Noir atmosphere which was what kept me reading. 

Once it got going it was quite exciting and fast paced although there were rather a lot of characters to keep track of - none of which are predictable. Everyone in it is selfish, mean, corrupt, racist, misogynistic or a combination of them all except perhaps Kay but even she lies her way through the book. But I don't think we are *supposed* to like them.. 

The denouement is dramatic but is presented in an overly complicated way and I didn't feel much satisfaction when Bucky finally solves his mystery. Overall, I'm glad I read it but it was hard going at times - particularly the beginning.

Wool Omnibus (Wool #1-5) 

Hugh Howey 

Fantastic. Immediately bought the next one which I would have read straight away if I hadn't passed the kindle to Clem so he can read this book too. I needed him to read it quick so we can talk about it. Once he read it, he immediately read the sequel so he then had the same problem as me while waiting for me to have my turn reading it. 

I loved the set up and the progression between focal characters from one novella to the next. The idea - post apocalyptic set up - isn't the most original but it is the best telling of a potential future I have read in a long time.

Empire Of The Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Commanche tribe

S.C. Gwynne 

I found this read slightly frustrating. I started off by getting annoyed with the amount of times the word primitive is repeated. I get it! 

I felt like a lot of the thoughts in the first part of the book aren't fully dealt with before the author moves on to the next thought. It felt jumpy and I was waiting for the 'proper' book to start. As an example of unfinished thoughts- in a section on Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar it's mentioned that 'His rescue of two fellow soldiers was so breathtakingly brave that it drew a salute from enemy lines' then it goes on to something else without telling us what he did. It did however much improve the more I read. 

The subject is interesting and inspired me to go find out the answers to all the things that kept popping up unresolved. The book would have been the size of a house if he'd managed to pre empt and answer every little question. It's not really about Quanah Parker, he's hardly in it. However, he's a good peg on which to hang the history of the Comanches.

Letters of a Woman Homesteader


Elinore Pruitt Stewart 

THANK YOU @maggie_dolores for making me read this. I loved this book, Elinore has a bursting personality which comes out in her letters and her adventures are entertaining and funny. She is encouraging and pro-independence for women and all about proving that women are as capable homesteaders as men. She makes a few dated remarks about race, which could be uncomfortable but reading it now they seem absurd.

Choice excerpts:

"I stepped in and modestly kicked over a chair"
"He is a dear little thing, but he is a lusty yeller for baby's rights"
"There were no ants in the pie but that is accounted for by there being no pie"

Download it for your kindle, it's free on amazon.

The 19th Wife 

David Ebershoff 

I started reading this book because I am interested in 19th century emigrations westwards in America, particularly Mormons, (and I like murder mysteries). The historical parts have inspired me to read and research more on this area. The murder though is a device to hang the story on get all the characters in the right places to get to know the modern equivalents of Ann Eliza. This doesn't lessen the story, but don't expect the revelation of the killer to be the point of the book.

I felt the writing was stronger in the historical parts but I appreciated the change of pace in the modern parts. In some places the historical parts would go on and on and I'd wonder if we would ever get back to the modern characters who I would have liked to get to know more. 

Love you bye!

All book covers from goodreads.


  1. I've only read the Black Dahlia out of your list, I remember it taking a while to get going too, but in general I do like Ellroy as an author. I've added 19th wife to my 'to read' mormons intrigue me... (after watching Big Love when it was first aired!)

    Do you have a goodreads profile? mine is here:

    if you want to be book-friends?

    1. Yes please! Adding you now :)

      My interest in Mormons has the same source as yours.. mixed with a little NieNie Dialogues and Dooce.

      I've not been put off Ellroy as an author, for something written so much later he gives the noir authors of the time a great run for their money.